Summer is in full-on swing and besides the hot days, longer nights and BBQs, it’s also the season where beer and booze seem to be flowing a bit more freely, which means your skin and body are being put through the ringer.
The bad news? “Despite the fact that alcohol puts us into a state of relaxation and lowers cortisol levels, alcohol is by no means a health drink,” explains Miraval Resort & Spa’s dietician, Angela Onsgard, RD. “Alcohol is hepatotoxic, meaning it is toxic to the liver. Plus, it is extremely dehydrating to the body and skin due to the fact that it blocks vasopressin, the anti-diuretic hormone. Having four drinks can cause you to lose up to a quart of water from the body. This dehydration leads to shrinking of the brain, which causes the headaches associated with a hangover. As you can imagine, this also does quite a number on the skin.”
But…Onsgard does recognize that this can be a bit easier said than done and offers these tips for making sure your skin suffers as little as possible:
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Avoid the Salted Rim
The best way to prevent dehydration of the skin is to limit yourself to two drinks at most and be sure to hydrate before, during and after, Onsgard says. And if you are opting for rocks, ask for it sans salt. “Also, avoid sugar and salt in your drinks. This would mean no fruity cocktails or margaritas with a salted rim.”
Don’t Always Bet on Red Wine
Although red wine is the most antioxidant-rich alcoholic beverage we can consume, Onsgard says it can be very irritating to those who have sensitive skin or rosacea. “The congeners and histamines in the wine tend to aggravate the skin and cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.”
Go For Clear When You Can
Clear liquors like vodka, gin, and clear tequila do not contain congeners—substances created during the fermentation process that can increase the intensity of a hangover and may contribute to the appearance of aging in the skin.
Rely on Citrus
Onsgard says to use a squeeze of lemon or lime in lieu of sugary mixers.
Try an Infusion
Liquors that have been infused with cucumber, fruit or peppers are a great way to add flavor without salt or sugar.
Or Go the Fresh-Juice Route
“Fresh-pressed vegetable juices like beet or carrot would be another way to add flavor and vitamins without added sugars,” Onsgard adds.
Make It Muddled
Not only does it up the flavor quotient, but muddling herbs like mint or basil actually add antioxidants to a cocktail.
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